There are five pirate gangs
operating along the coast, and they have seized ten ships so far this year, and
attacked about twice as many. This is double the rate during last year.
Ransoms can be as high as $2.5 million per ship, but are usually a few hundred
thousand dollars. That's big money in this part of the world, and pays for
dozens of speedboats full of AK-47 and RPG toting pirates equipped with GPS
locators and satellite phones. Shipping and insurance companies are calling for
foreign navies to enter Somali waters and kill the pirates, who sometimes even
attack ships carrying UN food aid. So far, no foreign navy has stepped forward
to take on the task, which would involve some fighting in the coastal villages where
the pirates have their bases. It's also likely that the pirates would threaten
to kill some of the 30 sailors they hold hostage, as a way to get a foreign
navy to back off. Few admirals want to deal with that kind of bad
June 14, 2007: In Baidoa, Islamic terrorists
tossed a grenade into a crowd of people watching a video of an Indian movie.
Four were killed and six wounded. Such entertainments are considered sinful by
the Islamic conservatives who formed the Islamic Courts. No longer strong
enough to confront people openly, the Islamic radicals are now resorting to
terror tactics against sinful civilians.
June 13, 2007: In Mogadishu, clan militiamen
angry over lost power (and money), have been sniping at Ethiopian bases and
check points at night. Day attacks are much riskier, because if the Ethiopians
find out where you are hiding, they will tear down the entire neighborhood.
Islamic terrorists continue to attempt suicide attacks against government
leaders and Ethiopian troops. But the local terrorists have not quite gotten
the hang of it yet, and most of the attacks are failing.
June 12, 2007: Police seized a car full of
explosives headed for the capital. Suspicious civilians tipped off the
cops. The Islamic terrorist bombing campaign is not popular with most Somalis,
because most of the casualties are innocent bystanders.
June 11, 2007: The Hawiye clan, which is the
most powerful in Mogadishu, has refused to attend a peace conference. The
Hawiye clan had joined the Islamic Courts, because the Islamic group had
promised that most Hawiye economic assets (especially monopolies and
trading advantages) would not be messed with. Such is not the case with the new
government, and the Hawiye clan is not happy. The Hawiye see their traditional
rivals, the Darod, as trying to move in, especially since the president of the
Transitional Government is a Darod.
June 10, 2007: Police in the capital arrested
sixteen Islamic Courts terrorists, and seized large quantities of weapons and
bomb making material.
June 9, 2007: Eritrea is hosting a rival
Somali government, composed of representatives from the Islamic Courts, a few
(of dozens) clans that oppose the current coalition government. and Somali
separatists from Ethiopia (Ogaden). Eritrea is doing this mainly because of a
border dispute (over a patch of desert) with Ethiopia. Politics gets very
petty and vindictive in this part of the world, as it does everywhere else.